Apr 14, 2015

A Western Agenda in Congress this Week

In the mid to late 19th century, going west was one of the greatest ways to pursue the American dream. The perseverance it took to endure the journey and outlast the elements has become a hallmark of our the American people and our communities. Pioneers that arrived were greeted by land wide open with opportunity.  But the freedom that fueled the expansion of our nation and led to the development of agriculture, our natural resources, and scores of family-run businesses is under attack from the federal government thousands of miles away from life in the west.

This week, the House is acting to return the future of the west to today’s pioneers.

Representative Kristi Noem (SD-AL) grew up on a ranch and is the daughter of a farmer.  At a recent Ways and Means committee hearing, Kristi chronicled the tragic loss of her father, which forced her to return home from college to run the farm. Shortly after, her family was faced with a tremendous tax bill from the federal government that threatened to shutter the farm unless they sold part of the very thing her father worked so hard to build for his family and community.

The tragic loss of a loved one should not be compounded by years of hardship from a government that treats death as a taxable event. On Thursday, the House will vote to permanently repeal the death tax to protect families and farms in the west that contribute to fabric of our country.

Harnessing our land for farming or energy development has benefited the American people greatly—not to mention our own western communities. We do not rely on foreign nations for our food or our energy supplies because of the bounty and ingenuity we have here at home.

But the federal government has overextended its hand to the west once again and is attempting to curtail this important activity on our farms and land by expanding its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The House acted to stop this absurd government overreach last year, and this week the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced legislation that would send the Administration back to drawing board on this rule. Additionally, the Natural Resources Committee is holding a hearing on this land grab.

Our western states were born on the backs and in the minds of pioneers that represent all that is great in our nation. The House is focused on ensuring that Washington understands American greatness rests with the American people, not bureaucrats in DC.